99 pistols were meant for criminals in Delhi and its neighbourhood; two gunrunners held
The Delhi Police Special Cell made the largest ever seizure of illegally-manufactured small firearms with the arrest of two men at Shastri Park here on Tuesday.
The sophisticated 99 weapons of 7.65 mm and .30 calibre with 198 magazines were sourced from their manufacturers at Munger in Bihar. The guns were to be supplied to criminals in and around Delhi.
The arrest was made following a tip off that a consignment of illegal arms was being smuggled into the Capital.
“We intercepted an Ambassador car near the Shastri Park traffic signal. The two men travelling in the vehicle identified themselves as Niranjan Mishra (50) and Feroze Alam (25), both of Munger,” said Special Commissioner of Police S.N. Srivastava.
The suspects initially tried to hoodwink the Special Cell team, but a close examination of the car revealed a hidden cavity behind the headlights. The pistols were recovered from the cavity.
The two accused were taken into custody and booked under the Arms Act. “The sophisticated weapons bearing marks ‘Army Supply Only’ and ‘Made in USA’ were being sold for Rs.20,000 to Rs.25,000 per piece,” Mr Srivastava said.
During interrogation, the accused disclosed that they had initially planned to deliver a large share of the consignment to one Haji alias Abdullah at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
But, they could not reach their destination because of heavy rains. The duo then came to Delhi to supply the weapons to another contact.
“They claim that they have been smuggling firearms for the past couple of years and had supplied a consignment of 80-85 firearms to Haji at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh a couple of months ago. They would transport the weapons to their contacts once every month,” the officer said.
Niranjan has told interrogators that he earlier drove a passenger vehicle at his native place. He then purchased his own vehicle, but poverty drove him into the gun running business.
He started procuring firearms from local manufacturers and transported them to criminals in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
His co-accused, Feroze Alam, earlier worked as a helper with a school bus. He came to Delhi in 2007 and worked as a labourer with a Noida iron factory.
Three years later, he started driving cabs. “Feroze met Niranjan last year and they together began gun running for easy money,” Mr Srivastava said.
He said the Delhi Police Commissioner had last year commissioned a study on the growing use of sophisticated firearms in the city. It revealed that in most cases, firearms illegally manufactured in Munger and smuggled into Delhi by organised gangs from Meerut, Kanpur, Allahabad and other places were used. Seven gunrunners were arrested by the Special Cell last year and in all, 28 firearms were seized.
Raids in coordination with the Munger police also led to the seizure of three pistols, 13 semi-finished firearms, live cartridges, a lathe machine and other equipment used for the manufacture of weapons. Nine people were arrested by the Munger police in this connection.